vhs dvv int logo rgb pos hor

Terms of Reference

Feasibility Study Sri Lanka

(Date of Publication: 15.01.2022)

1       Background

DVV International (DVVI) is the Institute for International Cooperation of the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V. (DVV), the German Adult Education Association. DVV represents the interests of the approximately 900 adult education centres (Volkshochschulen) and their state associations, the largest further education providers in Germany. As the leading professional organisation in the field of adult education and development cooperation, DVV International has committed itself to supporting lifelong learning.

DVV International has been implementing country programs worldwide for more than 50 years to support adult learning and education (ALE). The overall goal of our work in the different regions and target countries is to ensure that a well-managed and resourced ALE system, that responds to the needs of learners (youth and adults), is supported by relevant activities and, eventually, established in a sustainable manner. Through the use of a systemic three-level approach supporting micro, meso and macro level we assist government and NGO partners to set-up and strengthen key elements of ALE systems, with reference to

  1. the enabling environment (e.g. policies, strategies and guidelines), including management processes such as planning, budgeting and M&E systems
  2. institutional arrangements to deliver adult education services within responsible sectors and coordinating bodies across sectors;
  • technical processes related to providing quality training, capacity building, material development and services to adult learners (e.g. at CLCs - community learning centers).

Our work involves capacity development of governmental and non-governmental partner organizations in view of more effective service delivery according to their mandates and missions. The respective focus and target groups in each country are based on identified needs. Innovations and new approaches in programme development are a constant feature of supported activities.


2       Purpose and Work Packages of the Assignment

The main purpose of the Study is to provide information on the feasibility for DVV International to access Sri Lanka as a new partner country and seat of a regional office. The Study shall collect and analyze essential data and sources (both primary and secondary) to provide information and recommendations in two main packages:

Package 1: The current system and stakeholder set-up in the sub-sector of ALE and its role within the entire education system in Sri Lanka in order to identify needs as well as potential government and NGO partners for implementing a new country program. The conceptual framework of this program and partner related assessment is given by the guiding questions outlined in section 3.1.

Package 2: The operational framework conditions for setting up a country and regional office. This includes, inter alia, registration processes, conditions for work permits, employment related issues, location of the office and infrastructural costs. For further orientation, see also guiding questions in section 3.2.

Starting point of the feasibility study is the rapid country assessment already elaborated by DVV International with support of local resource persons and institutions that will be made available before the start of the Study.


3       Scope and Guiding Questions of the Feasibility Study

The scope of the study covers two main packages as mentioned above. The Consultant is requested to take the following key aspects and guiding questions into account during the feasibility study to be conducted and for the proposal to be submitted. Answers and further findings will feed into the deliverables required that should be supported by evidence (e.g. supporting documents) in the annex of the final feasibility study.   


3.1          Package 1 – Analysis and needs assessment of the current ALE System

Enabling environment and management processes for ALE

  • Policy legislation and governance: description of existing key documents (policies, strategies and/or other legal frameworks) related to ALE.
  • Exploration of policies and strategies of other sectors e.g. agriculture, health, conflict prevention etc. in relation to ALE.
  • Initiatives on establishing lifelong learning as a foundational concept for education and the role of ALE within the concept
  • Long-term strategic plans linked to higher level national development plans and visions as far as ALE is concerned (e.g. Education Sector Development Plans).
  • Evidence of joint annual planning between sectors and/or government – civil society.
  • Assessment of (effective) implementation of policies and plans, e.g. through regulation and comprehensive program guidelines.
  • Description of the funding situation: national budget allocation to the ALE sub-sector; possible national funding schemes, (inter-)national donor engagement in the broader ALE context; private funding and possible other funding mechanisms to support ALE.
  • M&E/MIS: existence of monitoring and evaluation and reporting systems as well as other standardized frameworks for data collection and assessment; availability of research and validation system to recognize non-formal learning.
  • Qualifications framework that provides a learning path for youth and adults.
  • If applicable, description of ongoing reforms of the (adult) education sector and the role of international and regional agendas and conventions.


Institutional Arrangements for ALE Implementation

As far as institutional arrangements are concerned, the Consultant is expected to explore the scenario from both a government and civil society perspective, including multi-lateral stakeholders such as UNESCO and networks between organisations. The role of universities and possible linkages to policies and ALE related programs should also be explored.

  • Description of the main responsible government sectors (ministries, etc.) and departments responsible for ALE at each level (national, regional and district).
  • Overview of institutional organograms, hierarchy, mandates and allocation of personnel (experts, trainers, facilitators, system managers, etc.).
  • Analysis of commitment/awareness about ALE among political leaders and relevant public servants and their perception of the role and cooperation with non-state actors.
  • Overview of both local and international NGOs/organisations active in the field of ALE, the kind of programmes they offer, cooperation with government and each other through networks, forums, etc. (including an analysis of the opportunities of the Coalition for Education Development).
  • Institutional arrangements at national and grassroots level to provide ALE services, including capacity building programmes for trainers and organizational development.
  • Overview of (if any) existing academic programmes on ALE


Provision and Needs of Adult Education Services and Programmes

  • What kind of public and/or NGO sponsored adult education and related capacity building programmes exist already? What are key findings from evaluations, lessons learnt, challenges and potential risks?
  • Do curricula, standardized/recognized materials, methodologies and manuals exist for (non-formal) youth and adult education, including livelihoods skills training and community development?
  • Do community learning centers (or alike structures) exist? If affirmative, what do they offer and who is responsible for service delivery with which funding?
  • Are needs assessments available, taking the broad/holistic understanding of ALE (according to the UNESCO Recommendations on ALE) into account? What kind of learning needs have been identified with priority?
  • If such assessments are not yet available, what might be the main learning needs based on the overall analysis of the feasibility study and the country context?


3.2          Package 2 - Assessment of Operational Framework Conditions

The operational framework conditions refer to the working environment for international NGOs such as DVV International to open up an office in the country. The following questions/issues should be answered in detail, but also mentioning challenges, risks and recommended practices.

  • Registration processes and availability of legal or other firms to assist with this process (and related costs). Provide detailed information on steps and duration.
  • Are there alternative options for registration e.g. bilateral agreements, register as NGO, etc.? What is the status of other international (especially German) NGOs, including political foundations?
  • What are the current laws that govern specifically international NGOs – specify, attach and provide analysis of working environment and entry points?
  • Visa / working permit process for international staff (detailed steps, documents to be submitted, time-line and costs).
  • Best location of country office considering DVV International’s work at macro, meso and micro levels. Where are ministries and key government offices located? Where are embassies and other international NGOs located?
  • Overview on infrastructural costs such as office rent and utilities. Availability of suitable office spaces in recommended location.
  • Average procurement costs and tax regulations for NGOs in relation to vehicles and office equipment?
  • Options and costs for domestic travel between key cities of the country as well as flights to and from Sri Lanka, safety record of relevant means of transport.
  • Availability of qualified personnel in the field of adult education and support staff (finance and administration) with estimated salary and benefit costs. Main features of labor law regulations. How can staff recruiting be organized at start of operations?
  • What is the current security situation in the country? Are there areas of interventions that should be avoided? Are there any relevant health issues? What are recommendations from various stakeholders, including government, NGOs, German Embassy and others?
  • Provide potential contacts and any other relevant information and support networks.


4       Beneficiaries and Stakeholders of the Assignment

The main beneficiaries of the assignment are the head office of DVV International in Bonn and DVV International’s regional office for South East Asia based in Vientiane, Lao PDR as well as other regional partners from Asia.

Principally, the following stakeholders have to be consulted in the course of the Study:

  • Concerned governmental structures on a national level, if possible, also a selection of regional authorities and local government (district) authorities.
  • Relevant German international cooperation institutions (Embassy, GIZ, NGOs, political foundations, chamber of commerce, etc.)
  • A selection of local NGOs, trainings institutes, capacity building providers, experts and networks working in the field of ALE and education in general
  • International organizations and NGOs (e.g. UNESCO commission, ASPBAE)
  • Relevant national sector/working groups


5       Resources Provided by DVV International

The study is conducted under the responsibility of the management and the M&E senior desk officer of DVV International at head quarter in Bonn as well as DVV International’s Regional Director South East Asia based in Vientiane.

DVV International will provide the rapid country assessment already elaborated with support of local resource persons and institutions during the initial stage of study to support the refinement and the methodology and organizational issues of the feasibility study. Furthermore, DVV International can provide a limited number of key documents that are made available through ALE networks active in South Asia and in Sri Lanka.

DVV International will contract a local resource person based in Sri Lanka to support the provision of key documents for initial desk research and to facilitate the organization of selected meetings with local authorities and stakeholder. All costs for the local resource person will be borne by DVV International and must not be priced in the financial proposal.  


6       Tasks and Deliverables of the Contractor

During the assignment the contractor will be requested to fulfil the following tasks:

  • Refinement of the methodology and study planning with DVV International;
  • Desk study of relevant project documentation (governmental policies, strategies, NQF, M&E framework, etc. - compare guiding questions);
  • Preparation of inception report; to be discussed with DVV International;
  • Field phase for data collection and interviews with relevant stakeholders; online sessions with DVV International upon request;
  • Compilation of draft feasibility study; presentation to DVV International;
  • Elaboration of final Study, taking into account comments and further requests

The contractor has to provide the following deliverables in the course of the assignment

  • Inception report giving an overview of the consultant’s understanding of the context and task, together with the refined methodological design and data collection instruments. Once the report is accepted by DVV International, the Consultant will commence with the field work and further analysis of documents, etc.
  • Draft feasibility study, line with requirements outlined below. The study should have a length of 20-30 pages, with detailed background information (see passage below) in an additional systematic annex.
  • Final feasibility study after incorporation of feedback by DVV International.
  • Power Point presentation of key findings and recommendation (15-20 slides)

All deliverables must be produced in English, font Arial 11, line pitch 1.25, and submitted electronically to DVV International (Word / Power Point). The preliminary and final feasibility study must be accompanied with an executive summary of 3-4 pages.

The draft and the final feasibility study requires to:

  • Take into account and provide answers to the guiding questions (see above);
  • Provide detailed information with relevant documents as appendices (copies of strategies, minutes from interviews and meetings, etc.);
  • Provide an analytical overview of the most urgent learning needs within the ALE system and potential entry points at micro, meso and macro levels;
  • Propose a preliminary intervention logic / project planning matrix (model and examples to be provided by DVV International during the inception phase), including potential governmental and non-governmental partners and target groups


7       Application Package

The application package must include the following documents:

  1. CV(s) of international expert(s), including references to previous studies and regional experience (please use attached template)
  2. Technical proposal covering the following aspects (maximum of 6 pages):
  • Description of the understanding of the assignment and related key tasks
  • Outline of the methodological approach, for both desk research at home and field phase in Sri Lanka (see also information below)
  • Organization of the feasibility study, including draft work plan and steps of implementation with timeline for desk research, field phase and study elaboration
  • Consideration of country specific requirements, including the corona situation in Sri Lanka and an alternative approach to conduct the feasibility based on desk research only (with support of the local resource person in Sri Lanka)
  • Quality Assurance measures including risks and mitigating measures
  1. Preliminary draft of the table of contents of the feasibility study ( one page)
  2. A detailed financial proposal with all expected costs such as honoraria, envisaged international and local travel costs, visa, accommodation, eventual interpretation / translation and any other costs (including taxes). Please use the template provided and submit with a hand-written signature.

The methodological approach should outline ways of identifying, searching and assessing key documents, data and information required to compile the feasibility study. It is expected that the experts will arrange meetings with relevant stakeholders to conduct key expert interviews and where needed undertakes on-site visits in selected cases (e.g. to observe and learn about existing ALE delivery modalities). Primary and secondary data sources should be triangulated and complement each other to provide a comprehensive report. It is assumed that the expert(s) may have to travel in-country depending on the location of stakeholders. This has to be considered when designing the methodology in a systematic manner to minimize costs as much as possible.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 10th of February 2022. Proposals should be sent to Uwe Gartenschlaeger, gartenschlaeger@dvv-international.de


8       Indicative Timetable

The timetable below is indicative and may slightly change in the course of the feasibility study without substantially delaying its completion.




Publication of ToR


Deadline for requests of clarifications, publication of answers on the following day


Deadline for submission of proposals


Interviews, selection and contracting of candidate(s), briefing online discussion


Start of Assignment


Completion of desk research and submission of inception report


Discussion of inception report and further proceedings with DVV International


Completion of field phase, including interviews of key stakeholders, site visits and collection of further key information and documents


Submission and presentation of draft feasibility study


Feedback from DVV International


Submission of final feasibility study, including all deliverables required

The indicative total number of working days is 25-30, not taking into account the separate contracting of the local resource person. Applicants are expected take the indicative distribution of working days into account for their proposal. Please be aware that proposals which exceed this number of working days significantly may not be considered.


9       Right of Use

The principal has the exclusive and unlimited right to use the results fulfilled by the contract. The transfer of this Right of Use is complete with the payment made to the Contractor. The Contractor has the Right of Use permission strictly limited for personal non-commercial purposes. Transfer of the Right of Use to third parties is excluded.


10  Contractual Conditions

The legal basis for this contract is provided by the „General terms and conditions for the implementation of Services" (VOL/B). These general terms and conditions are not attached to this contract; however, an exemplary service contract is part of these Terms of Reference for perusal.


11  Consultant Eligibility Criteria

The feasibility study should be conducted by a consultant/team with the following proven areas of expertise:

  • Proven track record of conducting similar studies in the field of (adult) education
  • Experience in participatory study approaches that consider a broad set of stakeholders and beneficiaries;
  • Sound understanding of ALE and related delivery systems supporting government actors and NGOs in a sustainable manner;
  • Understanding of systemic development projects at macro, meso and micro levels
  • Proficiency in English; Analytical and writing and knowledge management skills;


12  Evaluation criteria of proposals

The proposals will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Qualification of expert/s (counts one third, based on the “Consultant eligibility criteria”);
  • Technical proposal (counts one third, based on criteria mentioned for Technical Proposal);
  • Financial proposal (counts one third - best price-service relation whereat number of indicated working days will be taken into account.


13  Request for clarification

If you should have questions concerning this tender, please send it until 31st January to Uwe Gartenschlaeger, gartenschlaeger@dvv-international.de. The answers to the questions will be published on our website (https://www.dvv-international.de/dvv-international/stellenangebote/) for all interested parties until 4th of February.